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Restoring Civil Rights

A misdemeanor conviction rarely involves the loss of civil rights, but convicted felons give up a number of civil rights. Some of these rights are automatically restored after the sentence expires, and some disabilities may be avoided through deferred adjudication while others may be eliminated through expungement. Other losses are permanent. An experienced Virginia Beach criminal attorney can give you accurate legal advice in these matters to ensure you are fully aware of the consequences of a guilty or no-contest plea or a finding of guilt:


Some felonies can serve as a basis for ICE to begin deportation or removal proceedings, and some felony convictions may allow for deportation or removal based on bad character. ICE has its own definitions of “guilt,” so, even though you did not technically plead guilty or were not found guilty, ICE may still be able to use the incident against you.

Voting rights

Southern states have historically struggled with voting rights, not only with regard to racial discrimination but also when a felony conviction is present. Until recently, Virginia required convicted felons to affirmatively request the restoration of their voting rights — such a petition could only be filed two years after the sentence was served. The law recently changed in Virginia, eliminating the two-year waiting period. A convicted felon may automatically vote again if the defendant:

  • Has paid all monies owed (fines, costs, restitution, etc.)
  • Has fully completed the sentence
  • Has no pending felony charges

Gun ownership

A felony means the loss of gun ownership rights, according to both Virginia and federal law, unless:

  • You receive an unrestricted executive pardon; or
  • You receive permission from the circuit court, and  all of your other civil rights have been restored by executive order

Work with Chesapeake attorneys who provide effective representation

At Shannon and Associates, the attorney who handles your criminal defense matter may be a former criminal prosecutor. A former prosecutor knows the law, knows the system and knows the most effective way to prepare and present your defense. Contact us for your free consultation.

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